A Farewell Salute to All Attractions, But Mostly Muppet-Vision 3D

Mitchell Stein- If you have visited Disneyland California in the past few months, or an avid reader of this marvelous website, you may be aware that Disney’s California Adventure’s version of Muppet-Vision 3D has been vacated from their own theater to make way for a Frozen themed sing-a-long which premiered alongside the Frozen Fun events. We have got word that the Sing-A-Long will stick around past Frozen Fun’s final date of May 15th, which I guess it should really come as no surprise to anyone. Although the fate of the theater is very much uncertain, our source has told us that what they have heard does not bode well for the fate of the Muppets only attraction.

This is obviously very sad news for Muppet fans and for fans of all things joyous and wonderful. Although I have personally never had the chance to ever make it out to the attraction in Disneyland in my lifetime, it makes me devastated to find out of the closure in the sake of replacing it with such a simple and silly attraction, lazily crafted and pointless. I viewed the Frozen show’s identical counterpart live from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and it’s literally a half hour of rehashing the same clips from the Frozen movie, with appearances by the film’s characters only for the finale. You can watch the full show here, and then cry over the fact that Muppets have been replaced with something so utterly ridiculous.

But I’m not here to bash Disney’s lazy cash grabs or be upset about our beloved attraction’s departure. Today, I wanted to pay tribute to the attraction, which opened as a counterpart to the Florida version in 2001 and ran until last November. I haven’t personally had the chance to experience this version in person, but it’s Florida counterpart is something  that remains as a personal favorite and means a lot to me. Much of the reason why I became a Muppet fan was because of my love for this 3D film. I pursued more Muppet movies because of my knowledge for this brilliant Muppet film on some of my dozen trips to Walt Disney World. Muppet*Vision 3D is quite honestly one of the most wonderfully executed 4D films throughout all four Disney theme parks. From it’s hilarious array of “look at we can do” 3D tricks to their wacky one-liners and blend that with some really neat interactive effects and spectacular Audio-Animatronics, you got yourself the classic attraction we’ve all come to love.

There’s so much wonderful things that Muppet-Vision has going for it. Although it’s got its flaws, it really is something marvelous. I think one of my favorite element of the attraction has got to be the incredible amount of detail involved in both versions. On every visit I never fail to find a new hidden gag or reference that I hadn’t spotted before. The queue is so wonderfully scattered with brilliant gags and slapstick humor, that it’s quite easily the best detailed and hilarious attractions in the entire park. The Audio-Animatronics built into the theater are stunning, and the live appearance of Sweetums is enough to make any Muppet fan jump off their seat in delight (believe me, I’ve experienced it first hand).

This film also sees the prominent inclusion of Bean Bunny and Waldo C. Graphic, both returning straight from The Jim Henson Hour and although Waldo is a bit annoying at some points, I think his inclusion was a great idea and I’m such a super fan of the idea of his introduction and his role in this film. Although Bean has appeared in multiple other productions, his biggest and most prominent role is this attraction and he shines wonderfully both on screen and slightly to the left of it.

But the best part of the fun begins even before you enter the theater: Once you make your way out of the queue, you arrive at which is my favorite sections of the entire production: The pre-show. There’s absolutely no question in my mind that this is a production that puts the Muppets at their ultimate best. The brilliant use of Muppets interacting with multiple screens is a great example of the hilarious fourth wall jokes the Muppets are famous for.  There’s just so much that makes this attraction so special and it remains a true favorite of mine ever since my first viewing.

Unfortunately, the closure of the attraction doesn’t come as much of a shockers as the writing has been on the wall for some time now. For several years the Muppet theater has become the temporary theater for various events, like the Frankenweenie sneak preview and elecTRONica events have left the Muppets vacated for a short amount of time, but up against a juggernaut like Frozen, the results will not bode well for Muppet fans. For unexplained reasons, the California version has always scored significantly less visitors than it’s still-popular counterpart in Florida. (As far as we currently know, Florida’s version is safe from closure for now). With a heavy heart we bid farewell to our beloved attraction until we have official reason to believe it’s returning. Until then, we say goodbye to Muppet*Vision in California forever.

Hey, since it’s leaving, would any of you guys like a sandwich? I mean since it’s already heading out it could, wait….FOREVER??

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Jarrod and The Creator are sad that MuppetVision3D is closed

The Creator and Jarrod are sad that MuppetVision3D is closed

8 thoughts on “A Farewell Salute to All Attractions, But Mostly Muppet-Vision 3D

  1. One thing to always remember is that California’s park is built heavily on repeat customers. The percentage of season pass holders and state residents is MUCH higher than Florida’s park, which given its size generally requires a longer commitment to being there (at much higher expense). People spend a week in Florida once every 3 or 4 years. Disneyland visitors spend a day there once every 3 or 4 months.

    As such, attractions get ‘stale’ a lot more rapidly in ways many Florida ones never would. There’s always new people coming to WDW for their first (and perhaps only) time, at a much higher percentage of the overall guest count over Disneyland’s.

  2. I was lucky enough to experience this attraction in California Adventure in 2011. Having already been to the Florida equivalent I can confirm that were are no notable differences. It sat next to the Monsters Inc ride which had originally been the infamous Superstar Limo ride. Unfortunately this is tucked away in a corner of the park and the unfortunately flat Muppet facade (except Kermit) and the even flatter Monsters Inc facade made this area pretty cheap looking. However the interior of the theatre, the preshow and the show itself were as enjoyable as ever. As this was just prior to the release of the The Muppets movie, presence of the characters and merchandise was minimal with just one cart directly outside the theatre selling plushes (and a fantastic appearance by Piggy in the Halloween Party parade).
    What gets me is the timing of this closure. So Muppets Most Wanted was a box office disappointment, but the new show starts in the autumn and the Muppets are now featured on Disney Junior. Surely they have proven themselves as worthy of an attraction now after this show lastest through some of the darkest years in Muppet history.

  3. Here is the question, what is in the theater now? I will be there next week. I am curious to see what is there. You’d think with the Muppets having a new show on network television this would have kept the attraction open or to re-open it.

  4. I hope they can come out with something better after closure. Why not create a new theme area called Muppet Land with the Muppets live theatre, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Henson’s Dinosaurs, Farscape, Bear in the Big Blue House, Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal – all in one place…just like Star Wars Land?

    • “Why not create a new theme area called Muppet Land with the Muppets live theatre, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Henson’s Dinosaurs, Farscape, Bear in the Big Blue House, Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal – all in one place…just like Star Wars Land?”

      Disney only owns the Muppets of The Muppet Show/Muppet Babies/Muppets Tonight & the films and specials they’ve been AND the characters of Bear in the Big Blue House, which was already a Henson-Disney collaboration.

      Sesame Workshop aka the former Children’s Television Workshop, now linked with HBO, owns everything Sesame Street.

      Out of the big 3 “Muppet Family” brands, only Fraggle Rock remains owned by The Jim Henson Company, as does the Creature Shop stuff: The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Dinosaurs, The Storyteller, Farscape, & the recent Syfy series, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, as hosted by Jim’s surviving son Brian and his sisters Cheryl, Lisa, and Heather.

  5. Pingback: Strange Search Terms | The Muppet Mindset

  6. Sad to hear this. I got to see it several times. It was a 3D show with lots of audience interaction, animatronics, and special effects. As you entered the theatre through the hallways you would see the coming ttsoon movie pisters which were parodies of muppets in famous flick covers. The hallways woukd lead you into a huge warehouse type room where you would wait to be escorted into the theatre. In this room, you would see all the muppet costumes and props hanging all over the walls, in racks, on top of boxes, etc. Super cool to see. You could catch costumes once shown on the TV show and props of the classic shows and movies. Once escorted into the theatre, you would enter the original theatre from the tv show. The red curtains with gold trimmings,and the booths and balconies off to the side where the 2 grumpy old men sit. Very beautiful muppet theatre. By the end of the 3D film, the muppets bombard the entire theatre and you literally see the Disney magic with the smell of smoke, fire and walls coming down. Really clever and creative. So sad that all that imagination is gone. 😦 How can Frozen replace that magic?

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